In recent weeks, my diary started to fill up with meetings again.
There was a lull while we were finding our feet and deciding which work needed to continue. But that’s long since ended. People know their days now, and the assumption is that work continues as planned pre-pandemic.
And that’s fine.
But our lives have changed.
We’re not in the office like we used to be. We’re working from home, and home is different.
In the office, if you were in back to back meetings, a colleague might grab you a coffee. That doesn’t happen at home.
In the office, a colleague might flag that you were running late because you had nipped to the toilet. That doesn’t happen at home.
Half an hour meetings appear to be a new trend when working from home. Short meetings have got to be a good thing. But you probably can’t start them late if your previous meeting overruns.
Half an hour meetings are increasing in popularity. Short meetings are a good thing. But having two in an hour, preceded or follow by another can be intense.
Meetings are often helpful. So, on the day this week where my diary was back to back, I accept that’s just the way it is (even if I do worry when I’ll complete my actions).
I don’t think there is an easy solution to this issue, and I know that other people have more intense diaries than I do. But here are some simple suggestions that might help.
If you’re booking a meeting, take a look at the diaries of those you want to attend. Is your request reasonable?
Try and avoid booking meetings at lunchtime or outside of the employee’s working times, especially if you’ve not checked with them first. They might be willing to take the meeting, but it really should be their choice.
Why not block some time out each day for a proper lunch break? I’ve blocked out 90 minutes from 12pm to 1:30pm. I don’t plan to take a 90-minute lunch, but I know my last meeting before lunch often overruns, and that 1pm looks an ideal meeting slot to some.
Use technology to help. Microsoft Outlook can set your default meeting times to multiples of 25 minutes rather than 30. Using this would mean 25 and 50 minute meetings become the norm, rather than 30 and 60.
We’ll soon be starting and ending our working days in the dark. Without a walk to the car/tube/train/office, we are only left with lunchtime to get some sunlight. We need it.